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How to Engage Others in Your Creative Process
Just talking to a friend about this, and decided to write immediately. Otherwise lost in a sea of others would this good idea be.
From the first sentence you know that what you’re about to read is from a Creative written for Creatives (the catch is that everyone is creative, imo. That statement, of course, requires re-consideration of the cultural definition of the word. So there might be some perspective-adjustment). It’s my belief that Creatives need not sweat in perpetual solitude - that the inclusion of one’s children in the creative process should be considered. And relatives and friends as well. If this idea appeals to you at all, read on. If not, at least for a moment consider some of the various creative possibilities advantages and surprises:
unique insights that can enhance your creation and widen your own perspective on it
simultaneous fun and learning
and very importantly - unless you’re a selfish grunt - realization of creative potential within others close to you, where you could be seen as a creative role-model or creative guide.
The world needs more expressive people as it becomes increasingly automated, and sharing your creative process - something seen as magic by many ‘non’-artists - can help bring out powerful talent, perhaps even in your own children.
The Two Basic Ways to Involve Others in Your Creative Process
Of course the inclusive possibilities for artists are endless. And I will give an off-the-cuff list of some of the ways I think artists of various disciplines can share their process, later in this article. Before that, however, I am going to look at it from the two basic perspectives of passive and active involvement.
Passive involvement in someone’s creative process is no less important than active involvement. Depending on the personality of your guest, passive involvement might be the best ice-breaker, perhaps moving into active involvement later. An example of passive involvement in the creative process could be children sitting near a parent who is creating art of whatever type: perhaps a dancer practicing a section of a piece; or a musician doing the same; a writer ploughing through a paragraph; a painter mixing palette colors; or a computer developer making something with code. They might ask questions, which should be patiently answered - a small price paid by the creative person for outside involvement and all it can mean for your ‘visitors’.
Active involvement is where the artist allows direct participation in their creative process, or gets actively involved in the process of another. The example I’ll use is a very recent one where I created and gave a guitar part to my daughter by recording it on her tablet (via GarageBand). I then added a bass guitar track, giving her two parts to add material to within the same song-to-be. Can’t wait to see what she or my son will add! The important thing is that I freely shared my creativity with her after listening (and deep-cringing) to many creative efforts made by her and her brother.
Neither passive nor active involvement need be complex or labor-intensive (though it certainly can be). It depends on your attitude regarding your own creative process and willingness to share it.
Random Tips for Passive and Active Involvement
Invite your kids / relatives / friends to be in your vicinity as you create.
Offer to be near your kids / relatives / friends as you create.
Writers - Read a section of your article or book to your kids / relatives / friends and ask for their thoughts on it
Writers - Ask your kids / relatives / friends for help with a plot twist
Writers - Ask your kids / relatives / friends for help with a chapter or book title
Writers - Ask your kids to make artwork for your publication
Dancers - perform a section of your presentation in front of your kids / relatives / friends and ask for their thoughts on it
Dancers - Ask your kids / relatives / friends to help you choose your next move from a number of possibles
Dancers - Ask your kids / relatives / friends to help you choose a costume
Musicians - Perform a section of your presentation in front of your kids / relatives / friends and ask for their thoughts on it
Musicians - Ask your kids / relatives / friends to help you choose the next note for your melody, or the next chord for your composition
Musicians - Ask your kids / relatives / friends their thoughts on a certain chord or group of chords.
Musicians - Ask your kids / relatives / friends to help you make the drum beat for your composition (expect a lot of dancing)
Image Artists (graphic, painting, illustration, photog., etc.) - Ask your kids / relatives / friends to help you choose a main color for your project after sharing the thoughts behind it.
Image Artists (photog.) - Ask your kids / relatives / friends to help choose the images for your presentation
Image Artists - Show your kids / relatives / friends different image filters (effects, perhaps on the same picture) and say which are their favorite
Image Artists - Ask your kids / relatives / friends to draw anything and have fun altering it using editing software.
Actors - Perform a scene in front of your kids / relatives / friends and ask for their thoughts on it
Comedians - Ask your kids / relatives / friends to help choose topics for your standup routine
Actors - Perform two or three versions of a scene in front of your kids / relatives / friends and ask for their favorite
Comedians - Tell a joke with multiple possible punch-lines and ask your kids / relatives / friends which is funniest
Hope this inspires someone to share their talents for the sake of the wonder and joy - and perhaps the eventual artistic contribution - of others. As always, here’s some art, this time by my daughter.
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